Frequency and Loudness Response of Ear
Home Up The Human Ear Frequency and Loudness Response of Ear Effect of Noise on Man Single Value Representation of Sound Spectrum


2. Frequency and Loudness Response of Ear

Ear cannot respond to all frequencies in an unbiased manner. Audible range of human being is commonly quoted as from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, which in fact will vary with age, health, past exposure to noises, and so forth. Ear also acts like a filter and will favour certain frequencies over the others. Ear is most sensitive to sounds at the range of 1,000 to 5,000 Hz, and particularly at about 4,000 Hz.


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Figure 3 Average Shifts with Age of Threshold of Hearing for Pure Tone


Change in

Sound Pressure Level

Apparent Change in


3 dB

Just noticeable

5 dB

Clearly noticeable

10 dB

Twice or half as loud

20 dB

4 times or 1/4 as loud

Table 1 Human Subjective Reactions to Changes in